• Kale, Leek & Ricotta Bread Pudding


Kale, Leek & Ricotta Bread Pudding

By Claire Ptak

This savory bread pudding was inspired by one of my favorite pasta sauces.

Recipe excerpted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak.

Kale, Leek & Ricotta Bread Pudding

Servings: 12


  • 900g (2 pounds; about 1 loaf) stale white sourdough bread, crusts removed and thinly sliced
  • Butter, for greasing the pan

For the Braise

  • 2 large leeks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh summer savory or rosemary
  • 400g (14 ounces) Lacinato or other kale
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes (I use the Turkish ones)
  • 150g (5 ounces) Gruyère, grated
  • 100g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Custard

  • 8 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 500g (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 360g (1  1/2 cups) whole milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A grate of nutmeg


Butter a 20 x 30-cm (8 x 12-inch) baking pan.

First, prepare the leeks. Trim the roots and the tough green stalks and outer layer from the leeks and discard. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and run under cool water to rinse, peeling back the layers to get inside where the grit is lodged. Slice the leeks crosswise into 4-mm (1/16-inch) slices and drop into a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes. All the dirt will fall to the bottom. Scoop the leeks out (rather then pouring them out with the water) and place in a colander to drain. Pat dry.

In a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the leeks, savory or rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste, and sauté for about 10 to 15 minutes until soft but without color.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to make it taste of the sea. Usually, I add about 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls to a large pot of water. Strip the leaves of the kale away from the tough inner core and discard the core. Coarsely chop the leaves into 2-cm (3/4-inch) strips and drop into the boiling water for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Do this in batches if your pan is not large enough, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the tablespoon of olive oil, the chile flakes, and the sautéed leeks. Set aside.

Grate the Gruyère and weigh out the ricotta, then set these aside as well.

In a bowl, whisk together the custard ingredients and then strain through a fine sieve into a jug.

In your prepared baking pan, layer the bread, kale mixture, and half the Gruyère, then dot with the ricotta. Pour two-thirds of the custard over the cheese, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let the pudding rest for at least 30 minutes to absorb the custard.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F (160°C/320°F convection). Cover the pudding with the remaining Gruyère and pour the remaining custard over the top.

Bake for 1 hour, until golden. Cut into portions and serve warm or at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, copyright ©2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright © 2015 by Kristin Perers.

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